Not about OpenMW? Just about Morrowind in general? Have some random babble? Kindly direct it here.
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I'm working on my own game and I was thinking about implementing leveled lists (practice). I know there's a lot of the for these things to insert randomness into a gameworld, so I'd thought I'd spark a discussion about it so I can understand fully the pros and cons to it.
Immediately, the idea makes sense. The leveled item list is pretty powerful when you stick one on an npc - they can have random armor or goodies, and that easily lends itself to easy to use and reuse lists.
Downside is how it affects the player's experience. Oblivion's progression felt really ho-hum because of the leveled creatures and loot.
Well there is a difference between randomization and level listing. Level listing is used to manage when will the player get what. When he is at a low level he will meet low level mobs, receive low level loot and vice versa. You can still put randomization into Level listing, but it must be seen as an additional feature that you have implemented.
More in control of player's experience
Manage the player's strength
Manage game breaking behavior (He can't run to a known place and receive powerful item)
Less anticipation (He knows if he plays long enough he will become powerful)
Less danger (If the level list is too rigid then he will have no enemy too powerful to beat)
Randomization is great for making each play-through a unique experience. You don't know when you will receive a good item ect. Some games went so far to randomize the whole world (Daggerfall), trying to make each playthrough never the same. But strange enough here is where some developers fall off the bandwagon.
Randomization does not always mean variety. The game mechanics will determine how much variety a game has. How different is each quest? How much different is it to play a rogue from a warrior? What challenges awaits you in the dungeons?
If you ever want to see randomization done right, look up Diablo II. Yes the maps are ugly, but each time you create a character, the character evolves differently and the game randomly rewards you for every second you play. You never know where what is making exploration an enjoyable experience. Randomly you will receive a godly weapon from a naked imp. Not Realistic? Well that is not what a player always want.
Hmm, did I go off topic? Not sure, but hopefully it shed some light.
A lot of that is true - My idea is to hate the hell out of the player at all turns. (My game is a rather difficult RPG that requires the player to care what they do and prepare for their epic journeys...I intend to reward well with content.) The player is always in danger, the player must be careful, but the player must always be rewarded if they succeed.
So - I was going to have very strict rules for when to use leveled creatures and loot.
The Problem with good loot is that you have no control over player knowledge. Once you play one of these games and remember where something is or how a quest goes it's really a once-off thing - you end up either randomizing a lot of writing a ton of complexity into it. I'm opting for complexity, in some cases. If the player knows where loot it, it comes down to choice to exercise that knowledge or not - they usually can't ignore what they know.